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Leadership quotes can instill a sense of inspiration and purpose in the reader. They reflect a lifetime of successes and failures that have contributed to our historical and modern idol’s wisdom.

From these inspirational leadership quotes, we can learn and adapt our leadership styles to lead with empathy, understanding, and confidence.

We have hand-selected some strong leadership quotes to stir up the great leader inside you. Keep reading to gain some inspiration and create a positive working culture.

Inspirational leadership quotes to wake up the leader in you

To inspire and keep the leader in you alive, we have curated a list of 50 powerful leadership quotes from some of the famous leaders worldwide.

General leadership quotes

  • “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” - Theodore Roosevelt

  • “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” - Ronald Reagan
Powerful Leadership Quotes
  • “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” - Henry Kissinger

  • “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” - Madeleine Albright

  • “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” - General Colin Powell

  • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams

  • “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” - Dianne Feinstein

  • “In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” - Harry Truman

  • “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” - Abraham Lincoln

  • “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." - Jack Welch
Powerful Leadership Quotes

  • “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” - John F. Kennedy

  • "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” - Warren Bennis

  • "The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” - Winston Churchill

  • “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” - John Maxwell

Strong female leadership quotes

  • “Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” - Rosa Parks

  • “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” - Rosalynn Carter

  • “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader.” - Dolly Parton
 Leadership Quotes
  • "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

  • "When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” - Malala Yousafzai

  • “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” - Amelia Earhart

Leadership quotes by famous authors

  • “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” - J.K. Rowling

  • “What you do has a far greater impact than what you say.” - Stephen Covey

  • “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” - Peter Drucker
 Leadership Quotes
  • “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” - Dale Carnegie

  • “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” - Peter F. Drucker

  • “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” - Max Lucado

  • “The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time.” - George Orwell

  • “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • “Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” - Peter F. Drucker

  • “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” - Warren Bennis

  • “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.” - Jim Rohn

Leadership quotes by famous sportspersons

  • “Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. You can’t come in yelling, ‘I’m your leader!’ If it happens, it’s because the other guys respect you.” - Ben Roethlisberger

  • “Each group and each youngster is different. As a leader or coach, you get to know what they need.” - Mike Krzyzewski

  • “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” - Vince Lombardi
Inspirational Leadership Quotes
  • “To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.” - Pat Riley

  • “Some people want it to happen; some wish it would happen; others make it happen.” - Michael Jordan

  • “A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.” - Joe DiMaggio

  • “If you don’t believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you.” - Tom Brady

Business leadership quotes

  • “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” - Bill Gates

  • “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” - Sam Walton

  • “If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself and the organization gets pulled up with you.” - Indra Nooyi
Inspirational Leadership Quotes
  • “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” - Warren Buffett

  • “One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. And you define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution.” - Ginni Rometty

  • “True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” - Sheryl Sandberg

  • “You don’t have to hold a position to be a leader.” - Henry Ford
Motivational Leadership Quotes
  • “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs

  • “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” - Walt Disney

Historical leadership quotes

  • “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

  • “There is a troublesome humor some men have, that if they may not lead, they will not follow; but rather a thing was never done, than not done their own way, tho’ other ways very desirable.” - William Penn

  • “To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence … When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” - Lao Tzu

  • “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” - Alexander the Great

  • “He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.” - Niccolò Machiavelli

  • “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing so. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do it.” - Leonardo Da Vinci

  • “The best is he who calls men to the best. And those who heed the call are also blessed. But worthless who call not, heed not, but rest.” - Hesiod

  • “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” - General Montgomery

  • “A leader is a dealer in hope.” - Napoleon Bonaparte
Inspirational and powerful leadership quotes
  • “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.” - Reverend Theodore Hesburgh

Final thoughts

Being a good leader is rarely straightforward. We live in a complex, ever-changing world in which we must adapt and thrive.

Sometimes, reading a leadership quote from those who have navigated these choppy waters with success is just what we need to see. It sets us back on track, inspires us, and motivates us to continue when the going gets tough.

Essentially being a good leader is all about how you deal with people. How you engage and motivate them, but also how you set yourself apart from the crowd.

We hope our choice quotes have inspired you to become a daring, confident leader!

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Adie Marais

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Adie has been creating content since 2017 with Contentellect. She loves to write and explore new and exciting concepts within different realms and industries.